There’s a new speedster in town on The Flash! Dr. Meena Dhawan made her debut in “Keep it Dark” and received the spotlight in last week’s “The Man in the Yellow Tie.” Who is Dr. Meena and why has she sought Barry Allen and his team out?
We had the opportunity to speak with Kausar Mohammed who plays Meena, about her new character on the show, the importance of representation for queer, South Asian, and Muslim characters in media, what we can anticipate going forward, and much more.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity
Congratulations on your new role on The Flash! So we’re seeing so many more opportunities now for South Asian, Muslim, and SWANA actors and creatives in Hollywood, such as the release of Ms. Marvel and the Tarazi Siblings on Legends of Tomorrow, even though there’s still a long way to go, and I’m curious for what you think are the gains that gains that you’ve seen as Pakistani-Bengali-American Muslim, and what more is there needed to do?
Kausar Mohammed: Yeah, and I think part of my identity that’s really important to me is being queer as well. We don’t necessarily see that with with Meena. But I think I only mentioned that because there is such a breadth of experiences. Whether it is solely Muslim or whether we’re looking solely at folks from this one, I’m in the community, or the queer community, we exist in so many ways. And our stories are just starting to be told. I mean, as you said, what are some of the wins? Ms. Marvel is huge, and I remember someone pointed out to me that, Ms. Marvel and Meena Dhawan sort of premiered around the same time and to think that these are two South Asian superheroes, on the same day is just phenomenal and I think it’s all these steps that are wins and then my thought is like, “Okay, how do we keep going because we need every type of story and every intersection of our identities. Where’s the disabled South Asian story? Where’s the Black Muslim stories?” We just need more of our stories, because we exist in many ways.
I 100% cosign absolutely everything you said. What was it like being able to film on the flash and what was your dynamic like with everyone on set?
It was truly one of the most rewarding fulfilling and welcoming sets I’ve ever been on. Perhaps because it’s a well oiled machine or, just the fact that everybody’s really, really nice, but it’s very, very clear that that everyone’s happy to be there and loves what they’re doing. And so in that sense, it was amazing and then from an acting standpoint to be able to play Meena. It was just such a rewarding experience. So it was amazing.
So what can you tease for the audience about Meena and what she’s seeking by working with Barry Allen and on her new Speed Force powers we find found out in the last episode.
I think what we can see we can say is that you really get to see the whole arc of Meena. You get to learn a lot about her own like hero’s journey and how very is a part of that and sort of how they work.together and how very many mentors are along the way too.
What would you say that, besides like a similar ethnic background, you have similar in common with Meena?
Yeah, so I think after that when when I got the sheet pages, I hadn’t known that this character was going to be Dr. Meena Dhawan, and initially when I connected to her with was her desire to, to democratize healing for the world. Very specifically, I appreciated her desire to make sure that the privilege of healing was accessible to everybody. And I was like, “Well, I can connect with that.” And then from there when I learned the background, after after I booked it, then I learned who it was actually, which is such a funny thing. But I’m kind of grateful that happened, because it’s just, you get to sort of approach the character as a human and not what you think they are in the comic book. But then once learning about Dr. Meena that one was in the comic book, I really started to appreciate her desire, and started to sort of get into comic books. So it’s like they’re kind of just, thrown on her along with many other people. So her role of trying to be a nurturer for folks and and teach other people about speed stirring and also not knowing what to do with this new power, but knowing she wanted to do something good with it. So in those ways, I, I came to sort of connect with it.
I think that’s very evident from your performance. And honestly, looking at the world in general, we could all use a lot more healing right?
Right, we just need it.
Exactly. Can you tell us if we’ll be seeing me and getting more involved in the fight against whomever the final villain is the season or maybe going into the next season? Can you tease anything about that by any chance?
Meena is a part of Team Flash. They take take things on and they formed an allyship and you’ll sort of see that you’ll see that.
You can watch The Flash Wednesdays at 8pm and streaming now on The CW App.